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elysemj
05-04-2011, 03:27 PM
Hi Everyone -

I haven't really posted on this forum (only once), but I've been reading everybody's stories and experiences, and they've really helped me out.

As of now, I have surgery scheduled for next Friday with Dr. Antonacci in Princeton. I think the thing I'm most worried about is that I still don't know if it's the right decision or not. My curve is only at about 40 degrees right now, and no lumbar curve yet. Everytime I met with the doctor, he reminded me that it's completely up to me, he was never pushy about anything. Obviously, it's not medically necessary for me right now, but I'm very worried that it's going to get worse in the future. Therefore, the surgery would be longer and so would the recovery. I don't know, maybe it's stupid of me, but I think it just makes more sense to get it over with now while I'm young and it'll be easier to recover from. Plus, I'm 26, and there's definitely moments where I'm in a lot of pain because of this and very self-conscious about the way I look. I really don't want to go through my whole life miserable (but who knows? This could end up making it worse, and I'll really be kicking myself in the butt.).

I'm only going to fused in the thoracic area (I forget the exact areas, but it doesn't affect the disks that easily degenerate). Another reason to get it done now is that the dr. says I'm well-compensated (no lower curve). As I get older, there's a good chance the lower part will start to curve and I'll need to be fused more.

If anybody has any words of advice or tips, I'd really appreciate it.

Thanks.

golfnut
05-04-2011, 03:58 PM
Elyse,
I know it's a tough decision. I had no pain which made my decision difficult, however, at my age, it was now or never. Did you get a second opinion? Your rational for having the surgery now rather than later makes a lot of sense. Best of luck!

sarahcant
05-04-2011, 06:00 PM
Personally speaking, I wish I had done my surgery when I was younger. I went through alot of unecessary pain, cortisone shots, acupunture, chriopratic, yoga, you name it I tried it just to get relief from the pain. By the time I had my surgery I had to have a full fusion because I had so much damage as well as progression. Theres also the issue of having children. It kills your back and caring them around really messes with your hips. I dont want to sway you either way, just sharing my experience. Im 49 and the recovery has been slow and annoying but thank God I was in good shape and had gotten down to a good weight. If your healthy and feel like this is good as far as timing those are two big issues. Good luck with your decision...keep us posted.

elysemj
05-05-2011, 08:44 AM
Thanks for the support. It was a big decision. Having kids is a big concern of mine, and I know that getting pregnant could make things worse. I know that was definitely part of my decision in getting it done now. Because, as of now, I'm afraid of having kids because I don't want to mess things up even more. I'm also in pain a lot, so I'm worried about running after kids if I'm in pain - wouldn't be fair to them.

I just got engaged, and the wedding is set for next June. I kind of wanted it done before then, because I'm planning a move to Florida around that time, and just want it done and over with. The doctor that was assisting Dr. Antonacci was like "look, if you're 70% for the surgery, 30% against it, just get it done because it's going to be so much easier now." She also said get it over with before the wedding, I'll have a year to heal and whatever. Plus, right now I live at home with my parents (aka no rent to worry about paying while on disability and having somebody to take care of me), and have really good insurance with my job. So, the timing is right too instead of waiting.

I got a few opinions before seeing Dr. Antonacci. I went to just orthopedic surgeons instead of specialists. And they all said they wouldn't touch it because "it wasn't that bad." I would explain to them that I'm in a lot of pain sometimes, and they kind of just didn't care and prescribed me more medication. Dr. Antonacci was the first scoliosis specialist that I saw, and he just said I'm at the borderline, it's completely my choice. He wasn't going to force it on my, but explained the pros and cons of both getting it done and waiting.

Lorz
05-05-2011, 09:11 AM
I know how hard this decision is, and how often you will second guess the one you've made. I am right there with you. Do you have documented proof of progression of your curve? At 40 degrees, if it is progressing, chances are it will continue. The recovery, from what I have read, is much easier, when you are young. Plus, if the fusion is only thoracic, it will not affect your flexibility. If you are having pain now, it will only get worse. I had 3 children, and with each pregnancy, the pain got worse, as did the curve. It sounds to me like you have weighed all of the pros and cons. and made the right decision for you. BTW, I am from Easton too! Best of Luck with your surgery. Let us know how you are, when you can.

Lilysaidwhat
05-05-2011, 04:54 PM
I waited until I was 3 years into 10 pain pills per day (between Celebrex, Tramadol and xanax) before giving in to surgery. Still, I have to say I wouldn't have done it any sooner. It was the right time for me. We're not having kids, we're adopting because I will never endure this hell again (Sorry but the pain for me was unbridled for almost 3 weeks and it is pretty much the only thing I remember), but then I'm also older than you and my curvature was much worse than yours.

There is a girl at my Phys Ther who also has scoli and has respiratory distress already at age 21, and her curvature is the same as mine was. I expect she'll be in the OR later this year.

For me, the decision was how long did I want the prospect of surgery hanging over my head? It was inevitable for me at nearly 70* upper/40* lower at age 38, and I was having trouble getting through the day with breakthrough pain that made my commute (2 hrs) and working (just at a desk job) difficult.

Sounds like you've got your ducks in a row and if I were in your shoes I would likely get it over with now. That's how I roll, though... Dec 30 told I needed surgery, had that mess done on Feb 23.

Today, about 10 weeks post-op, I am on Tramadol only (and could probably do with just tylenol, in all honesty), and have next to no back pain, which is more than I dared hope for. And thanks to having an amazing physical therapist, I'm doing a lot of strengthening work, have regained a lot of my flexibility despite being fused to L4, and am on track to have a 6 pack back before swimsuit season.

I did not believe I would ever feel like I was glad I did it, but there it is. You heard it here first, folks.

elysemj
05-10-2011, 08:59 PM
Lorz - The first time I saw a doctor was when I was like 12, and it was in the 20s then. At that point, it wasn't bad enough for surgery, and I had stopped growing, so there was no point in bracing. I was told to just let it go. I started getting pain a few years ago while I was living Florida. I saw 2 orthopedic surgeons down there, adn they measured me at like a 33 degree curve. I also saw an orthopedic surgeon up here in PA (Coordinated Health), and they put me at like 36. I saw Dr. Antonacci for the first time last October, and he saw I was right around 40. So idk if it's actually progressing or if people are just measuring it wrong. Where in Easton are you from? That's so weird!!

Lilysaidwhat - I know what you mean with the prospect of surgery hanging over your heard. I feel like if I don't get it done now (when it's an easier, quicker recovery, etc), I'll always be thinking about it, and just waiting for my curve to get worse (with pregnancy or whatever) and wondering when I'm going to have it done. I know it'll be painful, I"m just hoping it will be worth it in the long run and that I won't have as many problems in the future. I don't know why I have so much pain with a small curve, but I know there are days when I definitely don't feel 26. And I don't want to be that person anymore - I can only imagine what it would be like when I get older.

2 more days. Anybody have any recommendations on what to bring to the hospital, like clotheswise? Sweatpants and a robe, I'm guessing? I get cold very easily, I'll probably bring a blanket from home, haha.

Confusedmom
05-11-2011, 03:59 AM
Elyse,

I am a worrier by nature, but I am wondering about your situation. Have you gotten second and third opinions? Are you ready for a three month or longer recovery? Have you read the book about Scoliosis Surgery? These are all good things to do to prepare.

In many ways I wish I had had surgery at your age, so I can understand your wish to get it over with, but I hate to see you rush in to something this major. Best wishes if you go through with it, but remember you can always reschedule and take a little more time to prepare.

Good luck!
Evelyn

Lorz
05-11-2011, 08:55 AM
I am in Williams Twp., just outside of Easton.
I am wondering if you tried PT, or chiropractic to deal with your pain? A 40 degree thoracic curve is not always a surgical candidate. Also, thoracic is usually a lot more stable than lumbar. As Evevlyn said, you can always reschedule, if you are unsure. But, I realize your surgery is tomorrow, so I wish you the best of luck. You are young and healthy, and will do great. People I have spoken to say to bring an ipod, kindle, computer, but many say they really didnt feel up to using them. I am bringing my pillow from home. Good Luck, and let us know how it goes!

CaroleM
05-12-2011, 04:09 PM
Hi, I totally understand what you are going through I'm at 48 thorac and 31 lumbar and am having surgery on 5-27. The anxiety and second guessing your self is tough, I have a lot of that myself, but you know your body and how you feel physically the best. You are young and will have a better chance of recovering well now. Good luck to you and I am sure that whatever you decide will be the best decision for you.